An ideal place to have a skylight is right above a staircase. Stairways are usually dark and unwelcoming places but they don't have to be. The skylight makes this area bright and welcoming. Plus it allows light to be brought into the home without it being glaring; the stairway helps to break up that glare.
This is an example of a more modern type of stairway skylight. The staircase itself is done in a modern design which is reflected in the geometric patterns of the skylight. The purpose is still to allow light into the area but it's done so while sticking to the decor theme of the home.
This shows how the skylight itself can truly serve as a centerpiece of decor if you decide that you want to get elaborate with it. The decorations surrounding the area are all quiet which allows the boldness of the skylight to stand out. Again it serves the purpose of lighting the entire home via the staircase.
Where a true skylight can't be installed it may be possible to create the look of a skylight using a strong window. In this case, the placement of the window at the top of the stairs serves much the same purpose as a stairway skylight.
The skylight isn't always a small subtle square. In some cases, an entire portion of the roof is made from glass to allow light to enter at all times. This is great for rooms like the kitchen where you almost always want it to be well-lit.
Here is another example of how lots of glass windows can offer some of the same benefits of a skylight. If you can't get into the roof to create a true skylight then a full wall of windows complimented by subtle lighting indoors is a great alternative.
Here's a more traditional example of how skylights work well in the kitchen. The entire room is lit from above. You would rarely need extra lighting in this kitchen. The slatted design of the skylights helps to add a decorative look to the natural lighting.
The bathroom is another great place for a skylight. Most people don't enjoy having open windows in their bathrooms because they don't want people peering into their private lives there. A skylight allows you to have natural lighting without taking chances on showing off to the neighborhood's Peeping Tom.
I'm not sure that I like the simplistic style of this modern living room but I do enjoy the way that it is lit from outside using a skylight on a slanted roof. It isn't too common to see skylights installed on steep roofs but this shows that it can work and it can add an interesting appeal to any room.
I love the subtlety of this skylight. It's built in around the fireplace so that it gives the sense that the smoke from the fire is truly rising up into the air above the home. It's an interesting design choice and one that works well in this already well-lit living space.